California Agricultural Energy Requirements


 Date: 2003
 Location: California
 Sponsors: California Energy Commission - Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program
 Reports Available:  ITRC Report No. R 03-006


ITRC was contracted by the California Energy Commission to assess the science and policy of agricultural water resource management to determine the impact future water issues will have on the statewide electricity system.

In this case, agricultural water resource management in this case refers to three levels of water consumption and transportation:

  • On-farm issues and solutions
  • Irrigation district issues and solutions
  • Water marketing between agricultural and urban sectors


The objectives of this study were:

  1. Define the current science and policies of agricultural water management, as related to California electricity usage.
  2. Envision future trends in science and policy that will impact California's future electricity usage.
  3. Define areas of potential research, training, and policy modification that can better define future trends or impact the agricultural water/electricity relationship in California.


The initial step was to analyze the current agricultural water energy requirements throughout the state.  Three energy use sectors were examined:

  • Water District Pumping (surface and groundwater)
  • On-Farm Pumping (groundwater and booster)
  • Conveyance to Water District Pumping (surface water)


Once the current energy requirements were examined in each sector, different scenarios were examined to help predict future energy requirements.  Specifically, energy requirements with regards to water transfers and water banking were examined.  Drainage water desalination and irrigation method changes were examined as well.